Divorce is one of the most difficult and painful events that can happen to you. Separating from a spouse means uncertainty about where you’ll live, what your kids are doing when they’re not with you, even who will continue to be your friend. Even in an amicable separation, there are feelings of loss; you’ve lost the potential of a life-long marriage, in-laws whom you may have respected and full-time custody of your children.
Fear of what might happen—and concern that you’re being taken advantage of—are terrible burdens to carry. When a divorce is contested in Texas and you find yourself in the midst of a battle, you may feel extremely alone in the eye of the storm. That’s why you need a compassionate, understanding, and competent divorce lawyer who can help you with a fair and equitable division of property and create a reasonable custody plan to best protect your children.
Whether you just need an experienced legal advisor to help you over each hurdle, or a tough negotiator who will fight for your rights, Frank J. Vendt, Jr., is the attorney to call in the Richmond, Rosenberg, Katy, or Richmond, Texas, community. As a father who has gone through the trauma of divorce himself, Frank understands what you’re dealing with, and knows the difference a trusted ally can make during this trying time.
Divorce can be extremely simple: you file the necessary paperwork and you’re no longer married. However, most divorces have some component that requires more attention to reach an agreement; and, of course, if some or all of the issues can’t be settled, the divorce process can go to court.
Most people in the midst of a painful divorce wish to keep the outcome of their cases as private as possible. Successful divorce cases, unlike the high damages recovered in personal injury cases, aren’t something that law firms typically brag about. However, The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., has an excellent track record in achieving reasonable and fair outcomes for clients, whether that’s a financial settlement, division of property, or a custody agreement. We do everything we can to keep our clients out of court, but if you have to appear before a judge, we’ll be by your side.
To get divorced, one party in a marriage must file a petition for divorce. This starts the whole process by indicating who the parties getting the divorce are, why they are divorcing, and what involvement the court is requested to take.
A counter petition can be filed by the responding spouse, which corrects (from their point of view) any issues with the original petition.
An uncontested divorce is one where both parties agree to make arrangements and negotiate in good faith. These types of cases are quicker, as they don’t end in a trial. In contrast, a contested divorceis when the two parties don’t agree and cannot reach a reasonable agreement, so the case must go to court.
The court may grant temporary orders to help guide the two parties while the divorce is taking place. These orders could indicate who will live in the couple’s house, how visitation will be handled and what child support should be paid.
Child custody details, including who will make decisions regarding the child in areas like religion, health care, and even extracurricular activities, are formalized in what’s called a parenting plan. The court must approve a parenting plan before it becomes legally binding. To change anything related to custody, a new parenting plan must be filed with and approved by a family law judge.
When filing a petition for divorce in Texas, the petitioner has to include the grounds, or reason, for the divorce. You can have a fault or no-fault divorce case, with the latter commonly proceeding on the grounds of “insupportability.” In other words, the two partners in the marriage are no longer compatible, but there’s nothing specific to blame for the separation.
In cases of divorce for fault, the petitioning spouse must prove that the reason is legitimate. By proving the reasons for the divorce, you may earn certain advantages in how property is divided and whether or not you can receive spousal support. However, you will have to make certain facts about the marriage known in court records, which can be difficult and embarrassing. An attorney can help you determine whether a no-fault or fault divorce is best for your circumstances.
The process of filing for divorce in Texas can vary, but most have several elements in common. A typical divorce case might look like this:
This process can vary slightly depending on whether the divorce is a no-fault or at fault case, as well as whether it is uncontested (generally, in an uncontested case, there is no need for extensive negotiation or mediation). Your attorney can explain how your case may differ from this process.
Most divorce cases are all about compromise. When two people are emotional, as is common during legal proceedings, it can be challenging to find common ground. Working with a skilled lawyer who has experience dealing with tough situations and getting to a compromise can be key. Typically, divorce cases end with a relatively equitable division of property and parental rights.
In some cases, spousal support will be awarded. The amount determined varies but is limited under Texas law to less than 20 percent of the wage earner’s gross income for periods of as long as three years. Spousal support is most often awarded only to partners who were married for more than 10 years and have some type of physical or emotional condition that makes it impossible to work.
A non-custodial parent will often be told by the court to pay child support. Like with spousal support, the amount is based on monthly gross income, but the exact percentage depends on the number of children to support. To support one child, the non-custodial parent may have to pay up to 20 percent of his or salary; parents of five or more children could pay as much as 40 percent of monthly wages. Health insurance may be required in addition to regular monthly payments.
What if one party doesn’t interact with the other at all? If you’ve served your spouse with a petition for divorce, and a counter-petition or response is not filed in return, you may be able to get a default judgment that gives you all the terms you’ve requested. As you can guess, these types of settlements are rare.
Unscrupulous former spouses can try numerous tricks in an attempt to improve their standing in divorce court. This can make the divorce more contentious and keep you off-kilter as you don’t know what to expect next; you may feel you’re being denied your fair share.
If you suspect your former spouse is trying to take advantage of you, it’s imperative that you call a divorce attorney in Texas as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can help you unravel the deceit and fraud that your former partner is attempting to use to his or her advantage.
Some lawyers charge a flat fee for uncontested divorces, where both parties agree to a settlement with a minimum of issues. This can range from $200 to $1,500 depending on your assets and custody issues. In more complex cases, lawyers will charge by the hour, and that can range from $250 to $450 for a possible total of several thousand dollars. An average contested case that requires several hours of negotiation and going to trial can run from $10,000 to $20,000.
In divorce and custody cases, you usually pay your lawyer up front in what is called a retainer. At The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., we understand the pressures on people who are going through a tough divorce with uncertain financial arrangements. Schedule a consultation to get an estimate on the cost of your case and to discuss payment options; we understand the challenges of navigating a difficult divorce and are always willing to work with clients to achieve a fee structure that is reasonable.
You may have been expecting a petition of divorce for quite some time, or you may have been completely caught off-guard. Maybe you were the petitioner, but your spouse has sent a counter-petition and shows signs of instigating a contentious case.
If you’ve received a petition of divorce, it’s important to secure quality legal help as soon as possible. Divorces can vary widely, and it’s important to get good legal assistance as soon as you can, whether your case is contested or uncontested.
Frank has done an amazing job with my divorce case, I would definitely recommend him to anyone!
“Frank has done an amazing job with my divorce case, I would definitely recommend him to anyone! He has always been available at all times of day, he is very sharp and knows exactly what he’s talking about and can explain things very well. I have relied on Frank to take care of this case and he has come through on top at every turn. Excellent lawyer.”
Frank guided me through a very challenging divorce and I couldn’t be more pleased.
“I cannot recommend Mr. Vendt and his associates more! Frank guided me through a very challenging divorce and I couldn’t be more pleased. Response times on phone and email were exceptional. On the rare occasion my questions were not answered immediately, I would wait only hours at the most, thankfully, I never waited into the next day. Frank also made a surprising effort to fully understand my situation, and negotiate a fair deal. Although it meant less money in his pocket, he managed to avoid a second trial, and negotiated a fair deal I was very pleased with. I always assumed lawyers were in it for all they could get, but Frank truly had my best interest at the forefront of his efforts. The best quality I can mention is that Frank is very honest and strait forward. He reads the situation, and advises in a very clear and accurate manor. I never felt like I was in limbo, and with Frank on my side, I knew what to do and what to expect to reach a satisfying conclusion to a difficult time in my life. I hope and pray I never need his service again, but if I do require a family attorney in the future, The Vendt Law firm will receive my first and only call.”
Frank really took care of me with a complex divorce. It was nice to know I had him in my corner with his experience and understanding during a difficult time.
“Frank really took care of me with a complex divorce. It was nice to know I had him in my corner with his experience and understanding during a difficult time. I highly recommend. ”
I simply want to Thank Frank for his upfront honesty and advise on my case! He saved me from spending my money and gave me the knowledge I needed to go about my situation.
“I simply want to Thank Frank for his upfront honesty and advise on my case! He saved me from spending my money and gave me the knowledge I needed to go about my situation.Thank you You Frank i really appreciate you taking your time to help me out and providing me with options..I hope to never have to go through going to court but if it was the case i would defiantly hire Mr Frank!”
He represented me in a manner that was professional and very efficient. Frank does what he does because he has a passion for justice.
“Frank was great to work with. He represented me in a manner that was professional and very efficient. Frank does what he does because he has a passion for justice. I am very appreciative of all that Frank has done for me and I will recommend him to anyone that needs legal representation conducted the ‘right’ way.”